Boy Meets World – 104, “Cory’s Alternative Friends”

Aw, yeah. Topanga in the house.

So we begin our episode with two girls we’ve never seen before and probably will never see after this episode giving a presentation. It’s sort of funny how the only kids that are consistently in this class are Cory, Shawn, and Minkus.

By the way, that girl on the left played Cokie Mason in “The Babysitters Club” movie.

After that, Cory and Shawn give a presentation on air pollution. They keep pointing to the wrong place on the map, and say that Philadelphia has a worse baseball team than Denver due to Philadelphia’s dirtier air. Feeny says their presentation stinks and makes them redo the assignment, but with partners he’s assigned – Shawn with Minkus:

And Cory with… Topanga!

Topanga in the first season is the best character ever.

She asks for Cory’s hand to see if their “energies converge”, and deems him acceptable. Cory asks if he can get a different partner on account of Topanga being weird. Topanga is sort of weird, but also awesome. She’s really New Age-y and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her until a few seasons from now when she gets… normal.

After the credits, we join Cokey Mason and her unnamed friend. Cokey Mason is having a party and says she’s not inviting some guy for being a total “Brillo head”. I had no idea what that joke meant for a long time. Cory sits down and he says his hair is like a Chia Pet while Shawn actually has hair. And Rider Strong really does have beautiful hair. I think he’s one of the few guys of the 90s that could pull off that longer hair without looking like a girl or a drug addict.

Topanga approaches Cory and says she’s gotten Jedediah to drive her to his house after school. Jedediah is her father, she just calls him by his first name. Cory finds this weird and says he calls his dad “dad”. Topanga asks him how he can tell his dad apart from other dads. Topanga is so awesome.

Topanga also asks Cory to sign a petition. The old librarian is being forced to retire on account of her being old, and Topanga says that’s blatant ageism. Maybe it is, but when people start to get too old, they stop being as good educators. Particularly for librarians. If their eyesight starts to go, there’s really no point to them anymore. But we actually haven’t even seen this librarian at all, so I’ll stop being ageist against her right now.

Cory and Shawn remark that Topanga sits at the loser table. And just look at this magnificent assemblage.

That one kid is wearing a cape. I never knew a kid who wore a cape, but I did know some people in high school who wore cat ears to class every day. Then again, I wear the same pants every day, so am I to judge? Although I suppose that’s a bit more normal than wearing a cape or cat ears.

Anyway, Cory doesn’t care enough about them to keep the conversation going, and asks Shawn what to do about his hair. Shawn says his sister can help. If I recall correctly, this is the only time Shawn’s sister is ever mentioned in the series, and we never see her. Shawn also has a half-brother we’ll see later on. He also won’t come up again after his appearance, and then everyone will be extremely shocked when we meet his other half-brother.

So at Cory’s house, Morgan asks Mrs. Matthew if she can put her doll in the toaster oven if she gets cold. Mrs. Matthew says no, and Morgan reveals she already put the doll in the oven.

Mrs. Matthews says she’ll buy Morgan a new doll.

Cory and Topanga are working on their project. Cory suggests baseball again, but Topanga says she has a better, less conventional idea. She gives Cory a poem to read and does an interpretive dance, capping it off by putting lipstick on her face.

Cory tells her to hit him over the head with a baseball bat before they give that presentation. He’s afraid the other kids in class will laugh at them. I’m pretty sure they would too, but Topanga asks Cory why he’s so afraid of what other people think of him.

Topanga says Jedediah and Chloe (her parents) say “The Earth weeps”, and that the earth is crying for Cory. Cory says that he just couldn’t stand it if he didn’t fit in, and Topanga says he fits in fine. He’s just like “all the other plain-wrapped kids at school”. Burn! I think…

The only thing that makes him different, says Topanga, is his red hat that we’ve never seen before. Cory says he had to wait in line for an hour to get it, and Topanga says that if it’s important to him, then it’s beautiful, which warrants and “awww” from the audience. I haven’t addressed this before, but I like the studio audience of this show. There are a lot of sitcoms where it seems like they have signs that light up telling the audience what to feel, but on this show, more of it seems genuine.

Shawn rushes into the kitchen with a brown paper bag, saying he’s “got the stuff”. If this were a different show or Cory and Shawn were older, there could be wacky hijinx where someone thinks Shawn brought over marijuana.

Topanga wants to know what “the stuff” is, and Shawn pushes her out, saying that it has nothing to do with dolphins. Cory and Shawn high-five at Shawn’s cutting wit.

One transition later, we find Shawn and Cory. Cory’s got some product in his hair and is asking if it’s supposed to be burning.

Shawn calls his sister, Stacie, to ask about it. Cory’s head has been burning for 45 minutes, and Stacie says he should’ve washed it out 40 minutes ago, and why didn’t either of them read the lable? My question is, why did Cory only mention right then that his head was burning?

Cory then screams from the bathroom, and we get one of those progressive-zoom-out-while-screaming sequences.

I feel like that joke is really overused, but I can’t think of another time I’ve actually seen it.

Eric and Amy come upstairs when they hear the screaming. Shawn says he had nothing to do with it and runs out of the room.

Morgan comes upstairs saying she doesn’t like her new doll.

Amy says the doll is a businesswoman who’s gone to college and doesn’t need Ken to support her. Hey, Barbie doesn’t need Ken to support her. Barbie’s the one who’s always getting jobs. I actually can’t think of any jobs Ken has ever gotten. On that note, I know Barbie these days is a princess/fairy/mermaid/baker/baby doctor/babysitter, but Barbie has had a ton of really awesome jobs, like animal trainer, grown-up doctor, astronaut, lifeguard, policewoman, WNBA player, journalist, and photographer. Also Morgan’s doll from the beginning of the episode was actually “Debbie” anyway.

Now I’ll just step off my soapbox and continue the recap:

Morgan calls Cory Punky Brewster and leaves, while Alan comes into the room and is amused by Cory’s stylish new hairdo.

I think Cory actually looks pretty cool. Everyone else on the show has basically the same hairdo, and Cory’s straightened hair makes him stand out, but he looks… well, he looks really cool, like he’d be that guy who all the girls in the school totally wanted to date, but he was also really aloof with them, and they’d be all like “Let me tame you!” and he’d be all “No one tames The Stallion.”

Geez, my fever must be coming back, because that was a really weird thing to say.

At the school, it’s time for Topanga and Cory to give their presentation. Cory is slumped in his chair, wearing that red hat. Feeny commands Cory to remove it. Cory says his hat is part of their project, as it protects him from the UV rays their project talks about. Feeny doesn’t buy it. Cory tells Feeny that if there was any humanity left in him, he’d let Cory keep the cap on, and Feeny tells him that too many years of teaching have stripped him of all his humanity. Feeny is so awesome.

Cory takes off his hat, and his hair has sort of morphed into a helmet-pompadour. The class mocks him. I think he looks less cool now, but his hair is still neat. It’s cooler than Minkus’ hair, anyway.

Cory tells Topanga to go ahead and laugh at him, but she doesn’t see any reason to laugh just because his hair is different.

Later in the cafeteria, Shawn and some kid we’ve never seen before laugh at Cory again. Topanga says there’s a seat for him at the weirdo table, where there’s a game of chess going on. Minkus offers him tofu. What manner of strange beast is Minkus, eating tofu?

Aren’t those Hostess snack cakes on the table? I’d sit with the nerds if they were sharing those.

Overalls Girl comes over and laments that no one has signed the petition to keep the librarian from being fired. Cape Kid says something about how old people have been valued in other cultures, and Cory asks him about his cape. Cape Kid – whose name is Jerry, I think – says “What cape?”

Look at that, he’s even got a tuxedo shirt on. And he’s wearing jeans with it.

Overalls Girl asks if someone else can go around with the petition now since she’s tired of getting stuff thrown at her. Minkus gladly volunteers, and Cory tells them that no one is going to sign their petition because they’re all weird. Cory says he can help get people to sign the petition because he actually knows the other people. Topanga protests that they know them as well, but Cory says they don’t, they probably don’t even watch the same shows. The people at the Weird Table say they enjoy watching shows like Crossfire or anything with Angela Lansbury. Cory says that the other, normal people are out there watching Beavis and Butthead. For some reason this gets a big cheer out of the audience. I guess there were a lot of people who were fans of both “Beavis and Butthead” and “Boy Meets World” in the audience. That sounds like a completely reasonable and sensible overlap.

Later at the house, Cory is putting little pink rollers in his hair. If he’d just left his hair alone, it would’ve been fine. His mom or someone could’ve taken this opportunity to just give him a cool haircut or something, but noooo.

Also, there’s a parking meter in that room.

Weird.

Eric comes in and takes a picture of Cory to blackmail him later. I believe this never comes up again.

Back at school, the weirdos are waiting in the hallway – which I don’t think we’ve ever seen before – and are sure that Cory’s not going to come. But right at that moment, he arrives! With yet another hairdo! And this time, even Topanga laughs at it.

The group has handcuffed themselves to each other and to the lockers to create a barricade in the hallway. Students, ready to start their weekend, ask them what they think they’re doing. Cory explains about the petition and says they’ll move once they sign it. One kids says he doesn’t care because it’s the weekend, and Cory says that the librarian is old and lets people get away with everything, and if they make her retire, they’re going to replace her with someone new who’s got something to prove. The kids relent and leave to sign the petition.

Four of the weirdos unhook themselves from the locker and Topanga and back out of the scene, still handcuffed to each other. Cory is very proud of his work, Topanga gives him some metaphor or something to say he did a good job. Cory’s afraid she’s going to kiss him, and she asks if it would be his first. Cory starts trying to escape, and Topanga says it’d be really interesting for him if he always remember that his first kiss happened when he thought he looked weird. That WOULD be neat. Dangit, Topanga, stop being so adorable and awesome.

After a short conversation about who it’s right to kiss and when, Topanga then kisses Cory.

The audience goes basically cheers, which is sort of weird when you consider they’re only 11 or 12 years old.

During the credits, Cory has his hair back to normal, and approaches Cokie Mason and friend saying he wouldn’t want to go to their stupid party anyway. Cokie Mason says the “brillo head” she was referring to was her sister’s friend Dwayne. For some reason I instantly thought of Dwayne Wayne from “A Different World”, which is a spin-off of “The Cosby Show”. Hm…

Cory sits down with Shawn and some kid, and Shawn invites him to touch football in his backyard. Cory says he’ll be there. Then Topanga pulls out a red hat that’s either hers or Cory’s and puts it on, and Cory and Topanga grin at each other.

Topanga from the first season was awesome. It’s sort of a shame considering what happens to her character in later season. I understand that maybe she just grew out of being totally weird like in the first season, but Final Season Topanga is basically not even the same person.

For some reason I remember this episode really well. Maybe it’s just a great episode and that’s why I’ve remembered it for so long.

It’s really nice that we finally got an episode that wasn’t about money or Alan spending time with Cory or how education is important. It was about… hm… loving you for you? And perhaps even when you don’t love yourself, there’s someone out there who does?

Sounds good to me. Next episode is about Cory and Minkus trading places in the academic and social worlds. Episode 6 also involves education. Blargh.

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